Winter Weather Preparedness – helpful information from our Diocesan Disaster Preparedness Coordinator

By: Sr. Amy Linder, OP 

Winter weather is upon us. Much of Oregon has been hit with winter weather over the last couple of weeks. The news is filled with stories of stranded drivers, power outages, and flooding. Now is an excellent time to check your emergency supplies, prepare your home and vehicle, and brush up on some winter weather terminology.

  • Winter Storm Warning

Issued when hazardous winter weather in the form of heavy snow, heavy freezing rain, or heavy sleet is imminent or occurring. Winter Storm Warnings are usually issued 12 to 24 hours before the event is expected to begin.

  • Winter Storm Watch

Alerts the public to the possibility of a blizzard, heavy snow, heavy freezing rain, or heavy sleet. Winter Storm Watches are usually issued 12 to 48 hours before the beginning of a winter storm.

  • Winter Weather Advisory

Issued for accumulations of snow, freezing rain, freezing drizzle, and sleet which will cause significant inconveniences and, if caution is not exercised, could lead to life-threatening situations.

It is time to prepare your home for the winter and keep out the cold with insulation, caulking, and weather stripping. Prevent pipes from freezing by letting water trickle and opening cabinet doors. Test all smoke and carbon monoxide alarms throughout the house and church. Gather supplies in the case of a power outage; such supplies include flashlights with extra batteries, charged battery bank for phones, fuel for a generator, etc. Be extremely careful if you use a generator!

Did you see the story of motorists stranded for 27 hours on a Virginia highway in the snow and freezing temps? Now is a good time to create a winter supply kit for your vehicle. Include in your kit: jumper cables, sand, a flashlight, bottled water, snacks, warm clothes, and blankets. It is also helpful to keep your gas tank full during these winter months.

Remember the needs of your pets in these winter conditions as well. Purchase and store extra food, litter, medications, etc.

There is more to being prepared than just stocking up on toilet paper.